Friends, Fans Cheer Goepper, US Slopestyle Team
By Mike Perleberg and Katlyn Reece
— Nick Goepper (@NickGoepper) February 14, 2014
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Hidden Valley’s Nick Goepper has been basking in the limelight after he and two teammates became the first U.S. team to sweep a Winter Olympics event since 2002.
Goepper, who once attended East Central High School and learned to ski at Perfect North Slopes, earned the bronze medal in men’s ski slopestyle in Sochi on Thursday. The U.S.’ Joss Christensen scored the gold medal while Gus Kenworthy took the silver.
The trio appeared on NBC’s Today Show Friday morning, where host Matt Lauer unveiled a new Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box featuring the three. Lauer asked the three about sweeping the podium.
“It feels absolutely incredible to be part of this historic moment and to share it with two of my great friends right next to me. It couldn’t have been a better turnout,” Goepper said, later giving credit to his parents for being able to keep his composure during the high-pressure competition.
CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO FROM PART OF THE TODAY SHOW’S INTERVIEW WITH THE OLYMPIC SKI SLOPESTYLE MEDALISTS, INCLUDING NICK GOEPPER.
The 19-year-old is Dearborn County’s first Olympic medal winner. On Thursday night, hundreds of Goepper fans attended watch parties for NBC’s Winter Olympics broadcast held at Willie’s Sports Café in Hidden Valley and at Perfect North Slopes.
Twin brothers Nick and Anthony Olhaut are childhood friends of Goepper. They were among those at the ski area for the celebration. They were up extra early Thursday to catch the competition live online.
“The whole family was going nuts,” said Anthony. “Personally, I think he had one of the best runs out there, but I’m glad it was an all-U.S.A. team to medal and I’m so happy he’s going to bring back the bronze to Lawrenceburg. It’s awesome.”
They grew up skiing with Goepper and aren’t surprised at his success. The Olympian had always shown a special athletic ability and determination.
“Nick definitely excelled at everything he did. We were fortunate enough to play pretty much every sport with him. In swimming he was always coming in first place. We played baseball and he was super good at it. He just blew our doors off eventually,” said Nick Olhaut.
“I knew he was going to do it because once he’s committed to something he’s going to follow through and that’s what he did here,” added Anthony.
Even Perfect North Slopes owner Chip Perfect said a local kid making the podium at the Olympics is remarkable. He recalled the days where he would see Goepper practicing seemingly endlessly on the terrain park.
“It’s a great story that somebody like Nick put in the time and put in the work. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you want to do, if you’re passionate about what you pursue, you can make it happen,” said Perfect.
At Willie’s Sports Café, every seat was taken during their watch party. Anytime Goepper’s name was mentioned on the television, the crowd quieted. But when NBC showed a picture of the Olympics rings painted on the Hidden Valley Lake dam, they erupted.
HVL residents Scott and Cherri Mitchell made 150 special t-shirts featuring Goepper on the front. The shirts were given away to people at the party. Some kids were happy to settle for extra large sized shirts as the supply ran out.
“It was a trip,” said Scott Mitchell, referring to the local kid making it to Sochi.